Encourage your teen to use the free time she has, more constructively.
Although we parents constantly rush around trying to get our child
involved in various activities, and signing them up for a number of
classes, we somehow lose interest when our child enters her mid-teens.
Why does this happen?
As children grow older, parents want their children to focus
less on outside activities and more on their studies. However, just
because you haven't signed up your child for tennis lessons doesn't
mean she's spending all her free time with her books. Chances are, the
more free time she has, the more time she's going to spend on the
phone, in front of the television, surfing the net chatting with
friends and strangers, or just getting up to mischief.
Of course this doesn't mean you should strive to keep your
teen so busy, she has no time for a social life! Hanging out with
friends and long telephone calls late into the night are almost a rite
of passage with teenagers. You should instead help her use some of the
free time she has, more constructively.
Parents worry about teenagers losing touch with their heritage
as they get more and more exposed to pop culture though the media. This
is a good time to encourage your child to pursue activities that will
help her get in touch with her culture. However, make it a point to get
her opinion, and to enrol her in something that is of interest.
Is your child fond of music? Send her for Indian classical
music lessons where she can learn singing or play a musical instrument.
If she is into fitness, enrol her in yoga classes or encourage her to take up a sport.
If she enjoys dancing, enrol her in classical dance lessons.
Don't be surprised if she finds Jazz Ballet a la Shaimak Davar more
interesting. If this is the case, don't force her to join Bharatnatyam
against her wishes because she will lose interest before long. You
could however ask her to compromise and try out an Indian dance form
for a few months until she learns the basics and gets some grace, and
then she could opt for something of her choice if she still doesn't
like it. But don't push too hard. Your aim is to make sure she uses her
free time constructively, so don't lose sight of that. If group dancing
and jazz ballet is something she will enjoy, remember that this is all
good, healthy fun. Not only will she be learning something new and
interesting, but she will also get a great workout, get more flexible,
and will improve her posture.
When your child is younger, it makes sense to enrol her in
various activities. This way, you can spot where her interests and her
talents lie. By the time your child enters her teens, you should help
her focus on one activity, outside of the academic arena. This could be
dance, music, painting or any sport. Encourage her to take up any one
activity seriously. As she gets better at this activity, her
self-confidence will increase tremendously. Also, she will no longer be
dependent on her friends and peers for their approval, as she has a
life outside the framework of her friends. Teens that are actively
involved in an extra-curricular activity are less susceptible to peer